What is your greatest strength as a writer?
Creating characters that the reader can empathize with; even with antagonists, I want their motives to be clear and reasonable. There is always room for improvement, of course – but I think that is my greatest strength right now.
Why did you choose to write this particular book?
It’s very difficult to say, because the story takes on a life of its own. I may think that I know what a story is about, but often as I am writing I find new meaning in it. Shadowborn began with the desire to tell Miriel’s tale, and Catwin came into being as an unexpectedly strong-minded character—after that, it was about telling their story, together.
How important do you think villains are in a story?
They are one of the most important elements! Villains are often the architect of the ills that befall the protagonist, and they are also often the protagonist’s foil. Because villains are so central, I think it really is essential to see them written carefully—one of the things that can really disappoint, in a book, is when the villain seems like a straw man character. I have to understand your villain’s character, circumstances, and drive (or there has to be some legitimate reason I don’t know), or the story is oddly flat.
Can we expect any more books from you in the future?
Yes, indeed! I am working on another trilogy right now that I am slating for next June. This one will be SciFi instead of fantasy, but it will often read like Fantasy. Stay tuned!
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
I am a huge fan of Scrivener, because it keeps chapters and sections all organized. However, I think the biggest resource is the wealth of knowledge, especially blog posts, available for writers. If you’re looking to learn about marketing, formatting, finding editors or cover artists, or writing queries, there is so much information out there!
What contributes to making a writer successful?
I think that a huge component of success is just not quitting. Another is having the guts to let people shred your work. If you keep improving, and don’t quit, you have a much better chance of making it!
Do you have any advice for writers?
It’s so clichéd, but it’s the only advice: keep writing. No time spent writing is wasted.
Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?
I suppose that my experiences and the people I know must be reflected somehow, but things are so combined and shifted around that it’s difficult to tell what was inspiration for which piece of a book.
What inspired you to write your first book?
It’s difficult to remember—my stories usually begin with an image or a concept, and morph significantly as characters emerge! At the time that I began writing Mahalia, I was working in a job that was miserable, and so I was always daydreaming of her world.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Trying to get the story on the page as close as possible to the story in my head. Robin McKinley said, “the story is always better than your ability to write it,” and I have always found that to be true.
What is your favorite food?
Anything that has been simmered and stewed for a while—curries, ragouts, bourgignon! It sounds especially appealing now that winter is just around the corner.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I’ve worked as a clerk at an apple orchard, a temp worker for one of the Ivy League colleges, a barista, a math tutor, and a call center rep. Pretty varied!
What genre of books do you adore?
I have a soft spot for Regency-era romances. I can feel assured that everything will work its way out, and the books are full of quips and funny happenstance! The Lady Whistledown books are probably my favorite. I am also a huge fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I like history, historical fiction, and books about economics or sociology.
Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
Website http://www. moirakatson.com